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|Right to Peaceful Protest||Remove Pokies from Pubs and Clubs|
|Support Global Climate Strike||Halt ‘EOI’ Development Process|
|Protect Native Forests||Bushfire Preparation Transparency|
|No New Thermal Coal Mines||Health-Based Approach to Drug Use|
|Climate Emergency Declaration||Maintain Independence of Judiciary|
|Transgender Rights||Increase Palliative Care Funding|
Right to Peaceful Protest
At the very end of the parliamentary year, the Liberals announced they would be bringing back a revised version of their anti-protest laws. The debate and vote on the legislation occurred just days later. These laws would see people engaging in or ‘threatening’ to engage in peaceful protest potentially facing 18 months jail time for their first offence. Legal experts have said this amended legislation is even worse than the original, which was struck down by the High Court as unconstitutional. The Greens and Labor opposed the Bill, but it was able to pass the lower house with the support of Madeleine Ogilvie.
Support Global Climate Strike
Following the massive worldwide rallies on September 20, the Greens tabled a motion for the House of Assembly to support the global climate strike movement. The text of the motion was deliberately designed to be as apolitical as possible, so that all members of the Parliament could support it. Unfortunately the major parties teamed up to amend the motion to remove any mention of ‘support’ – which was the key word in the intent of the motion.
Protect Native Forests
In November the Greens moved that the House commit to protecting 356,000 hectares of high conservation value native forest. This forest has been insulated from logging activity since the Tasmanian Forests Agreement was signed, and it was always intended that it would be permanently protected. However industry groups and the Liberal government have indicated they wish to expand logging activity into these areas from April next year. Unfortunately it was only the Greens who voted to protect these precious areas, with Labor and Madeleine Ogilvie backing in the Liberals.
No New Thermal Coal Mines
After it was revealed the Liberals had been handing over tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to thermal coal projects, the Greens moved that the Parliament commit to no new thermal coal projects be built in Tasmania. Our motion had the endorsement of more than 40 community organisations and more than 100 academics. Former Labor Premier David Bartlett, former Labor Environment Minister Paula Wriedt, and former Labor Resources Minister Andrew Lohrey also all publicly endorsed the motion. Despite this, we got no support from any other member of the chamber to ban new thermal coal mines in lutruwita/Tasmania.
Climate Emergency Declaration
Around the world governments have begun to wake up to the reality of our heating climate, and understand we are already living in a climate emergency. The recognition of this truth is an essential step on the path to meaningful action. After the massive and destructive bushfires that lutruwita/Tasmania experienced last summer, many in the community who had previously been silent began to speak out in support of a Climate Emergency Declaration. The Greens put this to the House, but neither of the major parties supported our motion.
Following the vote on marriage equality, states were required to pass laws that changed provisions for forced divorce if a person transition while married. When those laws came before the State Parliament, the Greens, Labor and Speaker Sue Hickey successful moved to change the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act to allow transgender, intersex and gender diverse Tasmanians to change their identity documents – like their birth certificate – to reflect their true gender identity.
This critical legislative reform has transformed the lives of a small part of the population. Now they can be who they are in every sense and are recognized as such.
Remove Pokies from Pubs and Clubs
Following the closure of the Glenorchy RSL, we moved that the House agree to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs. Pokies do significant harm to individuals and damage to the community, and for years the Greens have strongly advocated for Tasmania to meaningfully address these issues. At the 2018 State Election the Labor party supported our policy, but they have unfortunately since walked away from this principled position. The vote on our motion was a stark reminder of their stance, as they voted with the Liberals to oppose what was once one of their core election promises.
Halt ‘EOI’ Development Process
The Liberals have been under intensifying pressure over their secretive approach to developments in World Heritage areas and National Parks. Following a damning Federal Court decision about the Lake Malbena proposal, the Greens moved for the current ‘EOI’ approach be halted and for it to be replaced by a statutory process. We believed it to be quite reasonable for other members of the House to support this move, given the Federal Court’s findings raised serious questions about the current system. However no other member of the chamber supported our motion.
Bushfire Preparation Transparency
After last summer’s bushfires, an independent review was conducted by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC). This review made nine main recommendations to be implemented to improve bushfire preparedness and responsiveness in lutruwita/Tasmania. In response the Liberals made an in-principle statement about the report, but did not commit any new resources or undertake a timeline for implementation. In September the Greens put a motion to the House that the government release information about what measures they had taken to prepare for the bushfire season. Labor inexplicably sided with the government to stop the motion passing.
After months of pressure from the Greens, we again brought a motion on bushfire preparation. This time around Labor supported us, but Madeleine Ogilvie voted with the government to deny the motion.
Health-Based Approach to Drug Use
In October the Liberals introduced legislation to ban the sale of ice pipes in lutruwita/Tasmania. While ice is clearly having terrible impacts on individuals and communities, the evidence from the rest of the world demonstrates that a prohibition-driven approach only increases harm. When ice pipes are banned, ice users are more likely to take up intravenous drug use, which is much higher risk. The rate of communicable diseases also goes up, as more people end up sharing a smaller number of pipes. We’ve known for years that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and a new, health-based approach to drug use is required. The Liberals and Labor decided to ignore the advice of drug experts, and instead voted together to pass this harmful legislation.
Maintain Independence of Judiciary
The Liberals moved again for mandatory minimum sentences this year. Mandatory minimum sentencing undermines the independence of the judiciary, removes the capacity of the courts to take all circumstances into account, creates disparate outcomes, reduces the probability of guilty pleas and increases the chances of victims having to go through painful court processes. Mandatory Minimum Sentencing is opposed by the Sentencing Advisory Council, the former Commissioner for Children, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, The Tasmanian Lawyers Alliance, and many other legal experts.
Both of the issues in the bill have been rejected by the Parliament twice under this government, and once already in this term. The bill passed with the support of Madeleine Ogilvie, despite her professed personal and professional opposition to the bill. Labor voted with us against the bill.
Increase Palliative Care Funding
During debate on a motion on advanced care directives that was tabled by Madeleine Ogilvie, Labor moved an amendment that the government commit to funding Palliative Care Tasmania in 2020-21. The Greens supported this important and common sense addition. Unfortunately Ms Ogilvie sided with the government to defeat the amendment, despite the fact she had originally tabled the motion due to an apparent interest in improving palliative care outcomes.